“God, I didn’t mean that. Sorry.”

No! For fuck’s sake, I didn’t even know what films he would be showing. I mean, it’s generally old Communist propaganda newsreels with some drossy B-grade Sci-fi flick as the main feature, but I had no idea it would have a bunch of Italian-speaking Bedouin chicks wrestling each other in a sandpit.”

“Come on. You believe me, don’t you?”

“Would you like another drink, something like that?”

“But you do accept my apology?”

“Okay, whatever you want to talk about.”

“Oh, the literary festival. That really was a downer. I was supposed to be covering the event for a magazine, but they all made a point of ignoring me and walking away every time I went up and tried to talk to anyone.”

“Yeah, but I’ll get my revenge. Wait till they see the write-up I give them!”

“Well, I thought of opening with something like: ‘I was determined to write a balanced, statesmanlike piece about the Going East Literary Festival; but then, halfway through, I suddenly thought “Fuck it: why not tell it like it is?”’”

“Say what?”

“I don’t see why not. I’ve done it before. Not, admittedly, in this particular publication, but it does rather add to the flavour, don’t you think?”

“I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s just that I’m letting the rancorous side of my personality dominate – nagging on about the poor organisers of this festival, who I’m sure didn’t cock it all up on purpose.”

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